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Neelkanth.. the Jeweller of Jewellers

From North Pole to South Pole...

A Punjabi family that came down from there to here have adapted themselves to the local art and culture, and have virtually become one among the local fraternity. The intimate relationships with the South Indians have been a key factor in their success.

The descendants of a family of gold smiths, from Amritsar in Punjab, have now become the owners of South India’s most appreciated creators of bridal jewellery collection.

Yes, it is never an easy task for a North Indian to create designs to suit the taste of South Indians. It is indeed a mighty feat to create a whole new impression by merging the Punjabi and the local creative designs of jewellery, which are altogether different in their own way and unique. Creating acceptable similarities between these two, is the name of Neelkanth Jewellery; the family has truly worked wonders.

Gurmukh Singh alias Ram Singh, the present CEO of Neelkanth Jewellery shared his tale of success with LavaLavike.

Your brand is immensely popular for bridal collections. Tell us about its origin and growth?

We are originally from Punjab and our forefathers were professional goldsmiths. It was a small business. My great grandfather was engaged in creating gold ornaments of vivid designs. Even before the partition, our forefathers were very well known as creators of highly artistic ornaments in gold in the city of Lahore. They had a small jewellery shop at Amritsar after the partition of the country. They were particularly popular for handmade artistic jewels. My grandfather Bhagawan Singh was very interested in new and unique designs. He had a thorough knowledge about designs and always came out with designs which enchanted people. My father Narinder Singh was determined to expand this small business into an enterprise and went about expanding it considerably. The former business of catering to the local orders got transformed to a wholesale trade of jewellery shops. Thus he helped us to become the Jeweller to Jewellers. We slowly came to be recognised among the wholesale jewellery trade on a large scale.

What made your enterprise look towards the South?

My father was attracted towards South India when the wholesale trade grew into a fairly big enterprise. He thought of extending our territory towards the South. We, the three children came together and concentrated our attention on the state of Kerala which has a great craze indeed for the yellow metal. We opened an office there and started delivering designs which would go well appreciated with the local taste in ornamental designs. The demand grew not only in Kerala, but also from the neighbouring city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu also, which prompted us to open a regional office in Chennai along with a retail outlet. We were now slowly winning the hearts of the Southerners though our jewellery. It was at that juncture that realisation dawned on me. It was far better to migrate to the south rather than run the business from far off Punjab! Thus, we entered the Garden City - Bangalore in the year 1984. A show room in Hyderabad was opened in 1986. Since then we have never looked back. Success was with us every step of the way.

How was the initial response at Bangalore?

Like all others entering into the jewels trade in Bangalore, we too opted for a small showroom at Avenue Road, which was the place where everyone flocked to purchase jewellery for weddings and other such grand occasions. There were many jewellery showrooms already on Avenue Road, there was ample competition. Ours was a Punjabi showroom amidst the South Indians. But we refused to give in. We had a policy of delivering customised designs to the satisfaction of the customer, and especially more so when it comes to bridal jewellery sets. This helped us establish our jewels’ identity, rather than just sticking to a marketing strategy.

What prompted you to christen your show room as “Neelkanth” despite being from Punjab?

We had decided to select a name that would go along with the southern sentiments, since the enterprise was south centric. Neelkanth is another name for Lord Shiva who is a universal entity. Despite being North Indians we feel the pulse of the taste and likes of the people from the South. This name signifies the love we possess towards them. Though we have migrated to the South, we do visit the holy Golden Temple in Amritsar once a year along with our entire family. We have due respect for the southern culture and at the same time we have kept our own culture alive within. More than anything else, we have fully blended ourselves in the colours of the southern culture.

Which unique designs brought you on the path to success and popularity?

There are many such designs. The Coin Necklace of various designs, necklaces of semicircular designs etc., and the highest demand has been of the Neelkanth’s bridal jewellery set. More than 90% of our designs are never repeated. They will always be a truly different looking.

What is the secret of your success?

Every year we start afresh from zero and attempt to move towards garnering more profits. Attempting at every step to experiment with jewel designs. Real teamwork has been responsible for our success.

While many jewellery showrooms in the city are expanding with branches, how is it that you haven’t opened your branches anywhere in the city so far?

Why would people prefer to go anywhere at all, when they get everything they need under one roof? People come looking for our showroom from all parts of the city. That being the case, we think there is no need to open branches in every locality, at least for the time being. We will give it a thought depending on the development of the trade in the days to come.